No Heroes

[4/5] At some point (most fans’ll point to 2001’s epochal Jane Doe) Converge hit the redline for sonic extremity. Which isn’t to say the Boston quartet haven’t progressed since then; rather, like lab monkeys that’ve been stimulated for too long, Converge’s fans have stopped finding signals amid the noise. As with 2004’s You Fail Me, the defining trait of No Heroes is the album’s noise: From the twisted, off-time opening squeal of “Heartache,” Converge play like sadists forcing their gear through table saws: Even frontman Jacob Bannon, his screams terminally distorted (save for the career-high singing on “Grim Heart / Black Rose”), seems committed to annihilating his own voice. And when the shrapnel stops flying-see the Dazzling Killmen-esque dynamic terrors of “Weight Of The World” and the noise-guitar architecture that opens “Plagues”-it just makes the ensuing onslaughts that much more horrific. True, Converge may never eclipse Jane Doe, but considering they’ve made it impossible for anyone else to eclipse them, is that really such a bad thing? (EPITAPH) Aaron Burgess